I'll Run Away For The Holidays

an excerpt

Chapter 1

There has to be a certain irony to listening to "White Christmas" while surrounded by palm trees, green grass, and a bright, hot sun.

Not that Scott yearned for his childhood days of blistering cold, wet snow, and icy roads. Not by a long shot. He much preferred sandy beaches, the crashing ocean, and a cabana boy or two. So why in the hell he'd allowed his friend Madison to talk him into going home to Michigan for the holidays was beyond him.

To make matters worse, they were driving all the way from Florida to her parents' place. Which meant a mind-numbing seventeen hours cooped up in the car with nothing more to occupy his mind than her endless chatter. While he and Madison may have been friends since the fifth grade, and he loved her more than anybody, it would be a strain even for him. To say Madison had a tendency to ramble on about inane topics would be an understatement.

"Will you cheer up? This is going to be fun," Madison admonished as she hefted a large suitcase into her bright yellow VW Bug. It had a rainbow bumper sticker that read, I do support gay marriage. She listed to the right and almost fell, no doubt because the luggage looked as if it weighed more than she did. Scott didn't think she tipped the scales at much more than one hundred pounds.

"You remember how cold it gets in Michigan this time of year?" he asked as he rushed over to help her load the rest of the luggage. A hippie stuck in modern times, she styled her hair in thick braids and only dressed in long peasant skirts. For the trip, Madison had decided to wear a bright rainbow pattern and her favorite pair of platform sandals. Since she could barely walk in the things, Scott seriously worried that if she did too much bending or twisting, she'd end up with a broken ankle before they even started the journey. Knowing his luck, she'd expect him to carry her in his arms for the duration of the holidays.

"Of course I remember what it's like back home." She blew her blonde bangs off her face as she leaned against the car. "It's a hell of a lot cooler than here. I don't know about you, but I'm sick of the heat."

"Cooler?" Scott echoed, incredulously. "I checked the weather report. This morning it was five below zero. I would much rather be sunbathing than freezing my balls off."

Madison went on like she hadn't heard his negativity. A wistful smile spread out over her overly-glossed lips. "There's snow at home."

"That we'll probably get stuck shoveling."

"We can go ice skating."

"We'll probably fall through the ice and die from hypothermia."

"Oh, and we can make snow angels." She clasped her hands together and gave a squeal of excitement.

"And get snow up the back of our shirts. Do you remember how uncomfortable that is?"

She finally turned on him, her eyes bright with fury. "Would it kill you to be happy just once in your grouchy, boring little life?"

Ouch, that hurt, because it had a hard ring of truth. He refused to let it show, though, even to her. Instead of answering her outright, he just plastered on the biggest, fakest smile he could muster. That only incited her further. Letting out a low growl, she stepped forward and flicked him on the forehead.

"Hey, whatever happed to peace and love?" he exclaimed as he rubbed away the pain.

"Suck it," Madison snapped before she spun on her heels, wobbled for a second, then regained her balance enough to stomp off to the driver's side.

"Someone needs to spend more time staring at their lava lamp so they can unwind a bit," Scott muttered before he went to the passenger side.

As he buckled up, Scott took Madison's advice of trying to be happy, no matter how twisted the delivery may have been. He started with the fact that she drove the newer edition of the VW Bug. More leg room, airbags, and a working radio were all good things. Then he reminded himself how good a cook her mother was. Granted he hadn't had her turkey and stuffing for three years, but he'd be willing to bet it still tasted as rich and moist as ever. Plus, her aunt made the best eggnog in all of Michigan. Which reminded him...

"Is your drunk Aunt Nora going to be there?"

A wry smile twisted Madison's lips. "Yeah, although since she was due to get there this morning I don't know if she's had time to drink enough to qualify as intoxicated yet."

"You're kidding, right? Last time I stayed over, she offered to make me a Bloody Mary for breakfast," he drawled as he reached over and turned down the radio. At the moment he really didn't want to listen about Rudolph or his eight little friends.

"See, that's because she doesn't like you," Madison replied simply as she started the car.

"Why? Does she only offer booze to people she hates?"

"No, she gives out alcohol to everyone. But, she saves her good drinks for those who she considers better."

Even though he knew he'd be walking straight into her verbal trap, he asked, "So, what did she offer you?"

"A mimosa, with her most expensive champagne." Madison gave a smug grin as she pulled out into traffic.

"I still can't believe that I'm going back there after the whole..." He trailed off, not able to utter that horrible phrase.

"The Myrtle incident?" Madison finished, because unlike him she didn't associate one of the worst days of her life with those three words.

"Yes, I didn't think any of your family ever wanted to ever see me again." He didn't add that Anson would be top on that list.

"I'm sure they're over that. After all, Myrtle was just a pet turtle and he was getting old." Madison shrugged.

"That's easy for you to say since you weren't the one who ran him over." Scott could still hear Madison's mother's screams, the look of hurt and horror on Anson's face as he gazed down at the shattered remains of his beloved pet.

After a few moments, Scott noticed she'd failed to get off the exit for the freeway. "Where are we going?"

"I promised Mom I'd pick up Anson."

Madison shot him an apologetic glance as he groaned. Speak of the devil. The last time he'd seen Madison's little brother had been on that trip three years ago. Despite living minutes apart, the two men avoided each other and with good reason since their last encounter dealt with the skinny, awkward teen making a pass at Scott. While Scott had tried his best to let the kid down easy, there were still hard feelings between them. It didn't help matters that said pass occurred just moments before the whole turtle-cide. Of course Madison knew nothing about the previous incident, since the last thing Scott felt comfortable saying was, Hey, guess where your baby brother tried to put his hands? As far as she knew, Scott and Anson just disliked each other because of Myrtle.

"Anson's not so bad now that he's off his World of Warcraft kick," Madison assured him.

"Did college life get in the way of his gaming lifestyle?"

Scott silently cursed every mile that now separated them from Michigan. It was going to be bad enough before, but now that he had Sir Eager-But-Slobbery-Kiss along for the ride, it was going to take everything he had to keep on a cheerful face. Maybe he'd get lucky and Anson would sleep all the way there.

"He's decided to major in pre-med, so he's really cracking down. I barely convinced him to come home at all, especially since he knew we would be driving because of my fear of flying."

"How did you persuade him?"

"I kind of guilted him into it by reminding him this is going to be the first Christmas since Grandma died. I explained that Grandpa would need all of us." She nervously chewed on her bottom lip, showing how bad she felt about manipulating Anson. Madison had always been easy for Scott to read.

"Wasn't your grandpa the grumpy guy who kept asking me if I had sugar in my gas tank?"

She gnawed even more on her lip. "Yeah, but I'm sure he didn't mean anything insulting by it."

"Right." Scott drew the word out slowly, so she caught the gist of his disbelief.

"Besides, I don't think he'll say anything like that this time. Not since Anson came out to the family."

Scott had to admit she may have a point there. Since they all thought that their darling Anson could do no wrong, the whole family was probably on board the gay parade float now. As the youngest child, they all coddled and doted on Anson. Which was probably why the kid was such a little brat.

"Does Anson still say dude all the time and wear those ridiculous T-shirts?"

Madison chuckled. "Not so much anymore, he mostly gave that stuff up around the same time he lost his online gaming habit. He's really matured. I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised."

Somehow Scott seriously doubted that, but he kept his opinion to himself. The topic switched to small, non-important things until they pulled into the large college campus. The place seemed to be strangely deserted. There were hardly any people rushing around the sidewalks and only a few cars parked along the street.

"Most of the kids already left a couple weeks ago when the winter break started," Madison answered his unspoken question.

"I would have thought Anson would have been eager to get home, so why is he still here?"

She shrugged. "I don't know. He's been acting strange lately. I almost had as hard a time talking him into going home as I did you. Ever since this summer, he hasn't been himself."

She parked the car, but left it running. "You stay here and I'll go in and get him. Anson is such a slow poke we'll be waiting out here forever if I don't hurry him along."

After she left, Scott busied himself by trying to find a decent radio station, only to discover that each and every one seemed to be playing holiday music. "Little Drummer Boy." No. "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Not again, since he'd already suffered through it twice on the ride over. "Frosty the Snowman." Damn it, couldn't that guy melt already? "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." Hell, no! Not even if he'd actually been in the holiday spirit.

He finally found a station playing eighties' songs. With a sigh of relief, he closed his eyes and let himself get lost in the familiar beat of "West End Girls." Niiiiiice...he'd take this over Rudolph any day.

A loud knock on the window jerked Scott out of his appreciation for the Pet Shop Boys. Looking at the source, he saw a tall, muscular, blond, gift-from-the-gods man standing by the passenger side window.

"Looks like Santa brought my Christmas present early," Scott mumbled before he rolled down the window.

The blond cocked his head slightly to the side before he leaned in closer. From the new angle, Scott could see how the man's eyes were the deepest blue. His cock swelled in appreciation. He'd always had a thing for blond hair and blue eyes. This newcomer could not have met his wet dreams more perfectly.

Then the guy opened his trap. "Dude, you haven't changed one bit in three years."

Scott's mouth dropped as he shook his head. No, no, no! This had to be some sick kind of joke. "Anson?" he croaked out around a suddenly dry throat.

"Were you expecting someone else?" Anson asked, his full lips twisting in a crooked grin.

Damn, no one should have a smile that sexy and cute.

"No, it's just that you don't look like...well, you," Scott stammered like some kind of idiot.

"Three years is a long time, Scotty, plus I've been eating both my spinach and Wheaties."

The sarcastic comment hit Scott like a snowball to the face. Well, it was obvious that, while Anson may have done some growing up on the outside, inside still lurked a little brat. Scott started to tell him as much, but Madison returned.

"There you are," she called from the sidewalk. "I went to your room so I could help you carry your luggage."

Anson straightened up. The move made sure his groin came exactly level with Scott's face. Despite himself, Scott couldn't help but notice how large and tempting the denim-covered bulge appeared.

"I have only one bag," Anson called back, appearing to be completely oblivious to the situation into which he'd just placed Scott.

Madison frowned. "Aren't you planning to stay for the rest of your winter break?"

Anson laughed, and if Scott wasn't mistaken, the kid seemed to lean in more so his cock moved closer. All Scott would have to do was turn his face and he could practically kiss the thing. Unwanted, the image of him doing exactly that popped into his head. He could almost see himself slowly lowering Anson's zipper, then pulling out the man's dick so he could fully worship it. And he could almost hear the sweet noises Anson would make as he got sucked off. Would he be one of those low-moaning types? Or maybe the kind who lets out breathless gasps?

"I think a few days of family fun are all I'm going to be able to stomach," Anson answered Madison. "Unless I want to become a raging alcoholic like Aunt Nora."

"Well, we wouldn't want that," she returned easily.

Anson swiveled his hips so his cock nearly brushed against Scott's face. Okay there was no doubt that the brat was doing it on purpose. Scott felt torn between getting pissed off, or from letting out a groan of appreciation. Because even he couldn't help but admit, Anson had grown up very nicely.

"Yeah, because if I became like Auntie, it would be me who ran around with underwear on the outside of my pants for the first part of Christmas day. I still have flashbacks to the year I got to see Nora's Victoria Secret's G-strings way too many times." Anson gave a grin that could only be called adorable.

"That must have made for a memorable holiday," Scott drawled as he flicked Anson in the thigh, just inches from his erection.

Anson yelped and took a step back. "Especially if I wear a bright pink thong, like Aunt Nora did on Christmas eve. Not even Santa could love her in that get-up."

Scott's stomach did a slow turn of revulsion. "The last time I saw her, she was like twenty pounds underweight and had a huge mess of red hair."

Madison cocked a brow. "And your point is?"

"I just can't imagine anyone wanting to see her in any kind of lingerie, let alone a pink thong," Scott said lamely. He didn't add that Nora also had the body of a twelve year old boy and buck teeth that would make a horse proud.

"He does have a point, sis," Anson cut in. "Pink clashes so horribly with red hair. Nora should pick a different color. Maybe a bright blue or a soft purple?"

"As interesting as this conversation is, we should probably get going," Scott cut in. In all the years that he'd known the siblings, he'd learned that they could babble for hours if allowed. Each one trying to out-bullshit each other. While it did annoy him, it also caused a slight bite of jealously since he knew he'd never have that kind of carefree relationship with his own brother. The last time he and Jared spoke more than a half dozen words to each other had been back in high school.

Anson gave him another one of those damn grins before going to the back of the car and throwing his suitcase into the trunk. He came around and somehow managed to fold his large frame into the tiny backseat of the car. Once he got settled, he leaned back and studied Scott.

Scott swallowed hard as he felt Anson's gaze practically leave behind a heated path. Damn, Anson may have well been wearing a shirt that begged fuck me with the open desire that stood evident on his face. He even had the audacity to run his tongue over his lips, like he was just waiting for a chance to lean forward and take a bite. To Scott's horror, he found himself mimicking the motion, his gaze riveted on Anson's full mouth. Madison, for her part, seemed oblivious to the sexual tension as she got in and started up the engine. She looked over at Scott, a beaming grin on her face.

"Are we ready for the long drive?"

Afraid of being caught basically drooling over his BFF's little bro, he jerked his head forward and gave a dumb nod. "Yeah, I think we're all good to go."

"Cheer up, Scott. This is going to be a great Christmas. I just know it." She gave him a mock punch in the arm.

Scott glanced up in the visor mirror and met Anson's gaze in the reflection. The younger man gave a slow wink, a wicked grin spreading out over his face as he ran the palm of his hand over his cock.

At that point Scott realized the trip and Christmas holiday would be a whole lot longer than he'd anticipated.